LIFE DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK OUT!!! There, I said it. So maybe we should quit pretending it does. Life isn’t like in the movies where people live in their nice 200,000 dollar homes, and drive their 50,000 dollar automobiles to the soccer games on Saturday, and church on Sunday. Sure, people have trouble in the movies, but most of the time it works out and everybody lives happily ever after. REALLY?
Well life doesn’t always go that way. The good guys don’t always win. You can give your best effort and still lose. You can do your best to live right, and you will still be wrong. We make mistakes. We screw up. We have regrets–lots of them. That’s life and it has always been that way.
What really gets to me is when people look down on others simply because they have been more fortunate. Hard work doesn’t always produce a bountiful harvest, and sometimes crookedness and coruption does. Prosperity is not a sign of godliness. Take for instance all those heroes of faith mentioned in Heb. 11. Envision for a moment what life was like for those people. Do you think they were living the American Dream? Perhaps, for some it worked out. After all some were wealthy. Job may have lost everything for a while, but he got the blessings back, right? Or was that the message of the whole story? What about people like Elijah who got so frustrated that he begged God to just let him die. What about the prophets? How’d they all turn out. What about the apostles? Read your Bible. It’s not all peace and prosperity for God’s servants. It’s prison, torture, rejection, hunger and discouragement.
God sends the sun and rain on the just and the unjust. Sometimes it is just the luck of the draw. It has nothing to do with what you did or didn’t do. My favorite country artists are a little duo call Joey and Rory. They are my favorite by a long shot. They are talented, but down to earth. They are far from newlyweds, but they act like it. By and large, I would say Joey and Rory have been very fortunate. They have talent, looks, money, etc. But they have seen their share of hardships. A while back Joey gave birth to a daughter with Downs Syndrome, which would be challenging in itself, but Joey has been fighting cancer as well and she’s losing. In fact, Joey might not make through the year. It’s pretty certain at this point she won’t get to see her baby grow up. Popularity, money, and talent are not exempt from the tragedies of life.
I think of some of the people have come to the church for help. Perhaps some are just looking to get something for nothing. Others, I really don’t know what they are supposed to do. If you’re one of those who thinks these people just don’t want to work, you are wrong. Some are sick and can’t work. Some are going blind, some have such bad joint pain they can barely walk, and some have lung that make it hard to breathe. You may also think the government will take care of them. Why don’t you try to get by on what the goverment gives for disability or some other assistance?
As a person who has been out of work, I can tell you, it is very degrading and discouraging experience. If you’ve got no job; you’ve got no respect. People immediately look down on you without knowing anything about your circumstances. They think you’re lazy, stupid, and even immoral. If all you can find is a menial labor job, you won’t get any respect either. I serieously have no idea how people can live on a minimum wage job
A while back, I was listening to a speaker who was doing inner city ministry to the homeless. He made a statement that stuck with me because I knew it was true. “He said, many of us are just a paycheck or two away from being homeless ourselves.” Most of us are lucky enough that we don’t worry about being homeless. We have family and friend that would bail us out if need be. But what if family couldn’t help out? What if you were in a car wreck that prevented you from doing your job? What if all of a sudden you couldn’t work and you were bombarded by medical bills? How would you feel? Nobody want’s to be a charity case, but what if you simply had no choice.
We don’t like to think about it happening to us, but people love to look down on those who are struggling. Well, if you would have just managed your money differently, or worked harder, or did this, or didn’t do that. . . It’s bad enough to struggle, but do we need to be taunted with, “you brought this on yourself?” even if it is true.
You may remember the song performed by Tammy Cochran called “Life Happened.” In the song she tells of two stores of people who had very promising dreams when they were in high school, but things didn’t go right. Circumstances change, accidents happen, people die, you know. . . life happens. As Forrest Gump would say, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get.
Of all people, Christians as recipients of God’s grace, should be sympathetic to the struggles people face. Sometimes we take for granted all that we’ve been given. We forget the blessings of good parents, education, health, and opportunities. Not everyone is so lucky. The last thing we should ever do is pass judgment on people who are less fortunate. Some day, you may find yourself in need. Quite often there is nothing we can really do to help. But with be sympathetic instead of judgemental.